RV Definitions

Backup Monitor – camera in the back of a motor home used to aid the driver in backing up the motor home. It has a monitor positioned on the dashboard. It is also useful during travel to see traffic and watch a towed vehicle.
Basement Storage – storage areas or compartments that are below the floor of a motor home. Access to these areas is from the outside of the RV. Pass through storage means that it goes from one side to the other with no division and can be accessed from either side.
Brake Controller – electronic controller in the tow vehicle within reach of the driver. It activates the trailer brakes when the tow vehicle brakes are applied. There is also a manual override that activates the trailer brakes without the tow vehicle brakes.
Break-Away System – system that automatically locks the trailer brakes if there is hitch failure and the trailer breaks away from the towing vehicle.
Chassis – the base that supports the body and engine of a motor home
Converter – electrical device that converts 120-volt AC power to 12-volt DC power. Almost everything in an RV operates on 12-volt DC power that is supplied by a battery; exceptions include the roof AC, microwave, TV, and refrigerator (when not run on propane during travel).
Dry Camping – also known as Boon docking. Refers to camping without any hook up to electricity, sewer or water. Uses RV batteries for electric and fresh water from the holding tank.
Ducted AC – Air conditioning that is delivered throughout the RV via built in duct work, usually in the ceiling.
Roof AC – Roof mounted unit that provides air conditioning at that location only (it is not ducted throughout the unit).
Ducted Heat – Heat that is delivered throughout the RV via built in duct work, usually in the floor.
Dump Station – facility for emptying black water and grey water holding tanks. Empty the black water tank first, then the grey water dump will help flush and initially rinse the dump hoses.
Equalizing Hitch – hitch that uses spring bars placed under tension to distribute a portion of the trailer’s hitch weight to the tow vehicle’s front axle and the trailer’s axles. Also called a weight distributing hitch.
Full Time RVers – refers to people who live in their RV full-time, or at least the majority of the time.
Generator – a device that is powered by gas or diesel (possibly propane) for generating 120 volt AC power.
Hookups – connecting to a campground’s facilities. The typical types of hookup are electric, water and sewer. Some campgrounds have telephone and cable TV hookup available. Full Hookup refers to connecting to three of a campground’s facilities, including electric, water and sewer.
Fresh Water Tank – for storage of fresh water for later use.
Grey Water Tank – for waste water from your sinks and shower
Black Water Tank – for waste water from your toilet
Hydraulic Leveling Jacks – typically located in class A motor homes, these jacks level the unit using hydraulics that are controlled from levers or a touch pad near the driver.
Inverter – an electrical device that converts 12-volt DC power into 120-volt AC power.
LP Gas – Liquid Propane or Liquid Petroleum gas, used to run the RV appliances such as the range burners, oven, water heater and during travel, the refrigerator.
Leveling Jacks – permanently attached to an RV for the purpose of leveling the unit while on an un-even surface. Some are manual while some are power operated. Leveling by jacks is mostly limited to motor homes and top of the line towables. See your specific owners manual for specifics.
Puller – slang for a motor home with a diesel engine mounted in the front. Also called a Diesel Puller.
Pusher – slang for a motor home with a diesel engine mounted in the rear. Also called a Diesel Pusher.
Pull-Through – refers to a camp site that you are able to pull through while setting up—no backing to get in or out required.
Safety Chains – set of chains attached to the trailer’s A-frame and the tow vehicle while towing. They are intended to keep for trailer from complete separation in the event of hitch failure.
Shore Power – getting your electric power externally, other than from the RV batteries.
Slide Out/Slide – an area in your RV that slides out to allow additional living space.
Stabilizer Jacks – used on a fifth wheel trailer to hold up and stabilize the hitch while camping. They especially improve the stability of the camper above the gooseneck hitch by minimizing lateral and vertical movement. The corners of an RV for stabilization while at a campground. They are not for leveling a unit.
Tag Axle – this is an extra axle located behind the rear drive axle for the support of the RV overhang.
Weights
GVWR – stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. Refers to the manufacturer’s maximum load weight allowed for the vehicle. This includes the weight of the vehicle plus the fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers.
OR
This includes the UVW and the NCC and consists of all contents including but not limited to all fluids (gas or diesel fuel, engine oil, propane, water, holding tanks, etc.); all foods; all clothing, bedding, towels, etc.; all tools and spare parts, all toys (both adult and children’s) and all passengers and pets.
CCC - Combined Cargo Capacity. The maximum weight of supplies and cargo that can be added to the RV. Equal to or less than GVWR minus UVW, full fresh water weight and full LP gas weight. The term CCC is replacing NCC in new RVs.
NCC - Net Carrying Capacity – Also called Payload Capacity. Refers to the maximum weight of the fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers that can be added to an RV without exceeding the GVWR. See also CCC.
Dry Weight – refers to the weight of the RV with no fuel, no fresh water, no propane, no supplies and no passengers. Also called UVW or Unloaded Vehicle Weight. This does not include dealer installed options.
GCWR – stands for Gross Combined Weight Rating. Refers to the manufacturer’s maximum load weight allowed for the trailer and tow vehicle. This includes the weight of the tow vehicle, and the trailer with all of their contents, including fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers.
GAWR – stands for Gross Axle Weight Rating. Refers to the manufacturer’s maximum allowable weight on an individual axle. If an axle has a 3000-lb. GAWR and the RV has two axles, then the RV would have a GVWR of 6000 lbs.
Hitch Weight – amount of a trailer’s weight that rests on the tow vehicle’s hitch. Usually 10% to 15% of the total weight of a travel trailer; usually 15% to 20% of the total weight of a fifth wheel
Wet Weight – refers to the weight of your RV with the fuel, freshwater and propane tanks full.
Wide Body –refers to an RV that is wider than the standard 8 feet. Wide body RVs are typically 8 feet 6 inches in width. Have you heard these terms in RVing before?
Dinghy – refers to a vehicle that is towed with your motor home. Also called a Toad.
Toad – refers to a vehicle that is “towed” with your motor home. Also called a Dinghy.
Blue Boy – refers to a portable waste holding tank that usually has wheels on it to make taking it to the waste disposal site easy. The plastic tanks are often blue, hence the name.
If you are new to RVing, you might want to take a look at our Buying Used 101 section. This sections will help you better understand the different RV Types, First Time RV Buyer Information, and More.